VTA Theme Suffix

Observation
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimin you see me
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᑎᓐ᙮ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimitin I see you

The it in the second example above is called a theme suffix. The difference between these two examples is that the theme suffix -it appears in ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᑎᓐ chiwaapimitin ‘I see you’ and not in ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᓐ chiwaapimin ‘you see me’

There are three transitive animate theme suffixes, which follow the TA verb stem: -it, -aa ,and -ikw / -iku. it is used only when first persons (ᓃᔨ niiyi ‘I’, ᓃᔮᓐ niiyaan ‘we’) are actors and the second persons (ᒌᔨ chiiyi ‘you’, ᒌᔮᓂᐤ chiiyaaniu ‘we including you’, ᒌᔨᐧᐋᐤ chiiyiwaau ‘you all’) are goals. -aa and -ikw/-iku are used in all combinations with third persons.

Northern Dialect English Actor Rank Goal Prefix Theme Suffix
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimin you see me 2 > 1 chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᑎᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimitin I see you 1 > 2 chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᓈᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapiminaawaau you all see me 2p > 1 chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᑎᓈᐧᐋᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimitinaawaau I see you all 1 > 2p chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapiminaan you see us 2(p) > 1p chi
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᑎᓈᓐ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimitinaan we see you 1p > 2(p) chi it
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimaau you see her 2 > 3 chi aa
ᒋᐧᐋᐱᒥᒄ Click here to hear this word chiwaapimikw she sees you 3 > 2 chi ikw
ᓂᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word niwaapimaau I see her 1 > 3 ni aa
ᓂᐧᐋᐱᒥᒄ Click here to hear this word niwaapimikw she sees me 3 > 1 ni ikw
ᐧᐋᐱᒫᐤ Click here to hear this word waapimaau she sees him (the other) 3 > 3′ aa
ᐧᐋᐱᒥᑰ Click here to hear this word waapimikuu he (the other) sees her 3′ > 3 iku

[for the plural third persons combinations see the complete conjugation tables]

The theme suffix it appears in independent and conjunct verb forms. The theme suffixes aa and iku/ikw appear in the independent verb forms, but generally not in the conjunct forms.

Direct and Inverse in TA verbs

When the actor of a TA verb ranks higher than the goal on the person hierarchy, we can speak of a “direct” relationship. When the goal outranks the actor on the person hierarchy, then we speak of an “inverse” relationship. The theme suffix aa is thus also called the Direct suffix , while the theme suffixes it and iku/ikw are called the Inverse suffixes.

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